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BCI Eclipse // R // September 26, 2006
List Price: $9.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by David Cornelius | posted November 19, 2006 | E-mail the Author
Look, you don't become The Guy Who's Been In More Movies Than Everybody Else by sitting around on your patoot and waiting for the quality work to slide by. Just ask Christopher Lee, current holder of the above title. When not making stuff like "Dracula" and "The Lord of the Rings," Lee kept busy by showing up in a lot of - and I'm using the technical terminology preferred by professionals here - crap.

For example: the 1987 teen sex comedy "Jocks," which Lee made sometime in between "The Howling II" and "Honeymoon Academy." Lee popped in as the crusty old college dean stuck dealing with a handful of party animals, and I suppose if anybody's going to play the crusty old college dean stuck dealing with a handful of party animals, it might as well be Saruman, right? I mean, if we're going to have to watch a couple of bottom-rung feathered-hair pretty boys and Ogre from the "Revenge of the Nerds" movies screw around for ninety minutes, at least we can get a bit of reprieve by hanging out with Count Dooku every now and then.

"Jocks" (from that guy who directed "Big Bad Mama" and "Lone Wolf McQuade," by the way) promises to be a big, stupid Reagan-era sex romp, the sort of thing that populated your HBOs and your The Movie Channels so very long ago. And while there is a bit of T and a smidge of A, there's barely any romp at all. Instead, we get the story of the rowdiest college tennis team around, who have come to Las Vegas for a championship. And, well, that's about it.

Scott Strader plays The Kid, the best damn tennis player at L.A. College. He's also out of control - an introductory scene has his car crashing into a beer truck for comic effect - yet it's his fun-loving ways that make him such a star. So when the team packs up and heads to Vegas for a week, The Kid is looking to par-tay, much to the consternation of the coach (Richard Roundtree, of all people). Meanwhile, a couple of rich snots (including future "Patch Adams" director Tom Shadyac) from a rival school plan to, like, totally ruin The Kid's chances for victory. Meanwhile still, The Kid is falling in love with the hot friend (a young Mariska Hargitay) of those rich snots. Meanwhile still again, the crusty old dean demands to finally have a winning team represent his school, or else he might take up athletic director Bettlebom's (R.G. Armstrong from "Children of the Corn") offer to cut the tennis team to free up scholarship money for the football team. Oh, that Bettlebom makes me sooooo mad!

What we get with "Jocks" is a series of barely connected episodes that seem like random sex romp premises with the punchlines removed. The guys wind up in a biker bar, threatened by butch hookers; the guys plan use a pal's tuition money to make quick bucks at blackjack; The Kid is swindled into (maybe) throwing the championship; characters keep bumping into a slutty transvestite; Bettlebom is hornswoggled by a trio of hookers with a camera. That last one results in one of those scenes where the team keeps laughing and laughing and laughing at Bettlebom's embarrassment, as if by showing us characters who are laughing, we will believe that maybe it was funny. ("Look how much fun these kids are having!! Aren't you having fun, too?")

The bulk of the film consists of the tennis tournament itself, which is spiced up by the team's "zany antics." The Kid places hot women in the crowd to distract the other team. The Kid's friend (Perry Lang) turns around a losing game just because The Kid yells a couple of "go get 'em" lines from the bench (it's a headslapping nonsense scene, dropped in for instant inspirational-sports-movie feel but having nothing to do with anything else ever). Don Gibb, playing pretty much an stale retread of his Ogre character, screams at his opponents and crushes tennis balls with one hand (growling such pithy witticisms as "Aren't you glad those weren't your balls?" along the way). And a jheri-curled Stoney Jackson (of "Roller Boogie" fame) is a breakdancin' fool who pretends to be gay to scare the other players.

Which is as awful as it sounds, really. "Jocks" uses a heavy, icky dose of homophobia and racism (Trinidad Silva rounds out the team as a butt-of-many-jokes Mexican exchange student) that were considered awesome in the mid-80s. But, sadly, it's all the movie really has going for it; these are the only punchlines in a comedy filled with (what are supposed to be) cute moments instead. The script is rambling and forgetful (the whole gambling plotline comes and goes with complete irrelevancy), its characters lack the very charm the movie is convinced it's oozing, the tennis sequences are maddeningly dull, the romance is vacant. This is the kind of movie that thinks it's a blast because it shows us college kids getting drunk and leering at women, not realizing that you need to put in these things called "jokes" to make such a premise work.



BCI's anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) transfer is faded and soft, with blacks that come off more as dark grays. I don't doubt that the movie probably never looked very good in the first place, and the softness has a VHS feel to it that lends the picture a nostalgic vibe, but still. Bleh.


Now you can hear the movie's truly horrible theme song in rockin' Dolby 2.0! No subtitles are included.


Just a handful of trailers for a few other Crown International titles BCI is releasing. The trailers are in pretty lousy shape, and it looks like some of them come from a VHS, not film, source. Still, seeing the promo for "My Chauffeur" in all its hazy videotape glory might stir up some fond memories for some.

Final Thoughts

"Jocks" came at the tail end of a dying genre, and taking a look at what it had to offer audiences of the era, it's easy to see why the R-rated jigglefest soon went the way of the Golan-Globus action flick. Those of you looking to revisit the days of sneaking downstairs to see some nudity on TV will wind up with a movie that's not funny, not charming, and consistently annoying. Skip It. You can see Christopher Lee comically ogle a transvestite in another movie, I'm sure.
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